I strolled along our country road needing a few moments alone with the Lord. You know … clear my mind, roll some burdens over on Him. I wanted to remind myself of His faithfulness. I needed to press in — let the praise flow once again.
And then the most amazing thing caught my attention. Beside the road, broken limbs and huge branches littered the edge of the woods — evidence of a devastating ice storm. Branches had snapped in yards and forests like rapid pops of gunfire. The damage was mind-boggling.
The branches that caught my attention had been lying broken on the side of the road for over two months They were torn away from an apple tree that grows on the meadow’s edge. These branches were not in the ground, but on top of it. There were no roots attached clinging to soil bringing nourishment … only a jumbled pile of brokenness.
Popping out of the tips of the branches were apple blossoms! Although the branches were broken and left for dead, apparently there was enough sap within them to produce new life when the spring sunshine began to bathe them in its warmth. I stood there dumbfounded and then raised my head towards heaven. My face relaxed into a bright smile.
And then I thought about the goodness of God.
I experienced a lot of brokenness over the past few years. Often I felt like a jumbled pile of brokenness left for dead. I know I am not alone. I know a young family evicted from their home while the mom battles cancer. I know an abuse victim who walks on eggshells to avoid a beating. I know a cancer patient who just discovered the beast is back and invading her body. Many of my Christian brothers and sisters are facing desperate situations.
And yet they praise their God.
This kind of praise goes much deeper than a happy dance. Their praise is born of pain. It’s born of understanding the suffering of Christ. Their praise flows from the rivers of Living Water itself. It’s rich and has substance. Their praise is surrounded with groanings too deep for words.
How do they do that? How do I do that? I think the apple tree holds the answer. Just as the broken branches contained the dormant sap necessary to produce blossoms, the Spirit of God remains strong within His children, His Living Water flowing through their veins, maintaining life within. In our brokenness, when we need the Lord the most, His Presence gives way to praise. How? Why? Because in our brokenness He reveals His tenderness and opens our eyes to see and know Him.
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed — always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
Dear One, the Lord is near to the brokenhearted. He will never leave you to suffer alone. Never. His Spirit dwells within. Praise Him in this storm. Praise Him for who He is when you can’t praise Him for your circumstances, for He alone is worthy of our praise.
In due season this, too, shall pass and you will behold the glory and the power of the Lord.
Congratulations to Teresa Richardson!
Teresa won an autographed copy of The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife for the month of March.
Thank you, Teresa, for subscribing to my blog.